The epidemiology of enteric caliciviruses from humans: a reassessment using new diagnostics

J Infect Dis. 2000 May;181 Suppl 2:S254-61. doi: 10.1086/315588.


In the United States, acute gastroenteritis is one of the most commonly noted illnesses on hospital discharge records and death certificates, yet few of these cases have an etiologic diagnosis. The application of new molecular diagnostic methods has shown caliciviruses (previously referred to as the Norwalk family of viruses or small round structured viruses) to be the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreaks in the United States, and they may emerge as a common cause of sporadic cases of AGE among both children and adults. Novel molecular methods have permitted outbreak strains to be traced back to their common source and have led to the first identification of virus in implicated vehicles of infection-water, shellfish, and foods contaminated both at their source and by food handlers. The broad application of these methods to routine diagnosis in hospitals and public health laboratories is advancing our appreciation of the full burden of calicivirus-associated diarrhea, and it is opening new avenues for its prevention and control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caliciviridae Infections / diagnosis*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Caliciviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Feces / virology
  • Gastroenteritis / diagnosis*
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology
  • Gastroenteritis / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Norwalk virus / isolation & purification*
  • Public Health